Wind Industry Angles for Tax Credit on Capitol Hill

Congressional support for the Federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy has largely been forthcoming from lawmakers — but usually not for the long periods of time that would offer a stable climate for businesses to make investments and long term decisions. When the credit has been enacted, it’s often done so after Congress has allowed it to expire, leaving debilitating gaps in the wind power industry’s business cycle. If the wind power industry could hope to get one item included in comprehensive energy legislation being finalized on Capitol hill, it would be a long term extension of the PTC.

The American Wind Energy Association said the leading effort on the House of Representatives side to enact a long-term production tax credit (PTC), was introduced from Reps. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) who introduced a bill (H.R. 1511) calling for a five-year extension through December 31, 2010. Upon introduction the bill had 23 original cosponsors, including Ways and Means Committee members Reps. Jim McCrery (R-La.), Henry Bonilla (R-Tex.), J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.), Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) and Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.). The bill would simply extend the deadline for access to the credit and make no other changes, thus leaving the annual inflation adjustment provision in place. “Reps. Foley and Pomeroy are strong, effective, long-standing advocates for the wind energy tax credit,” said AWEA Legislative Director Jaime Steve. “We look forward to working with both of these members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee to secure the longest possible PTC extension at the earliest possible time.” AWEA is urging other members of Congress to co-sponsor the Foley-Pomeroy bill by adding their names as supporters of the legislation. More than 90 House members cosponsored similar legislation during the last effort to extend the PTC. Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means (tax) committee – working under extremely tight budget constraints – plans to advance the PTC outside of the broad-ranging energy policy bill working its way through three different House Committees. Instead, the Committee will seek to extend the PTC as part of a package of expiring tax provisions attached to an upcoming budget bill. Last year the tax committee had $25.7 billion to spend on energy tax credits. This year’s bill allots only $7.7 billion for all energy tax credits. As a result, the energy tax package being put together by the Ways and Means Committee will not include a PTC extension, nor will it include a number of other popular, existing, tax items such as the credit for alternatively fueled clean cars. “With a comprehensive energy bill moving slowly through the Senate,” said AWEA Deputy Legislative Director Jon Chase, “advancing the PTC through means other than the energy bill may allow for a PTC extension at an earlier date.” Information courtesy of AWEA
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